Is it easier to light a laser or to engage the public with accurate science?
Laser and Engineering technologies cluster LITEK™ together with its members on 14th of September opened doors to the public that wanted to see where the world-renowned Lithuanian photonic technologies are born. Cluster has been organizing a program for the members of the National Science Festival “Spaceship Earth” for the third year, and the interest in organized excursions is growing every year. This year all the places were occupied already in the first days after the announcement of the program on the festival website.
According to the latest data, more than two thirds of Lithuanian employers claim that there is a permanent shortage of qualified and skilled workers. The situation for companies and institutions operating in the field of laser and engineering technologies is even worse, as graduates are still slowly opting for precise science. In order to change this situation and to raise the interest in physics, other natural and exact sciences, the cluster has opened the door to laboratories for a number of years and allows to get acquainted with the scientific activities not only in scientific institutions (like Center for Physical Sciences and Technology) but also in the world-wide recognition succeeded high technology in enterprises (e.g. UAB “Ekspla”). In this way, efforts are made to educate pupils and students and encourage them to pursue a career in science field. Since the excursions are open to the general public, it is gratifying that every year there are more and more participants interested in Lithuania’s achievements and wishing to expand their knowledge in laser and engineering technologies. This year the participants had the opportunity to visit laser development workshops, research laboratories, get acquainted with laser operating principles and 3D printing technology. Scientist were asked what is easier for them – to light up a laser or to educate the society about photonics and the answer was one – to work with lasers. According to Doc. Romualdas Trusovas, scientist of Department of Laser Technologies of Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, everything is less or more clear working with lasers, on the other hand – to explain the processes happening here in laboratories to ordinary people is a challenge. But an intriguing and necessary challenge – agreed colleagues.
The National Science Festival “Spaceship Earth” is a fourteenth-year-long event that was first held in 2004 in Vilnius and Kaunas. During these years Science Festival has become the largest event in Lithuania that specializes in science promotion by offering various lectures, demonstrations, excursions, exhibitions and other events to the public events in various cities and districts of the country. Each year, more than 30,000 participants attend events of this festival.